Dickens Update #19; Book 2: Issue 16

In Chapter XIX The Storming of the Castle in the Air, Dorrit arrives home unexpectedly late and finds Amy and Frederick (Dorrit’s brother ) having a quiet evening and Frederick chatting about the difference Amy has made in his life. The reader learns that Mrs. Merdle is going home and she will have a “great farewell Assembly” and a dinner. Unexpected After Dinner Speech Bk 2 ChXIX p 671At the dinner, Mr. Dorrit has a spell of confusion and makes a speech about the Marshalsea using his old title Father of the Marshalsea. The guests gradually move to other rooms and Amy “got him into a coach…and got him home.” “And from that hour his poor maimed spirit, only remembering the place where it had broken its wings, cancelled the dream…and knew nothing beyond the Marshalsea.”He did not remember Mrs. General. He treated Amy as he always had and she “would have laid down her own life to restore him.” Mr. Dorrit appears to have all the symptoms of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s.

Amy cares for her father for ten days. “Sometimes she was so worn out that for a few minutes they The Night Bk2 Ch XX p677would slumber together.” “Quietly, quietly , all the lines of the great Castle melted (reference to chapter title) , one after another.  Quietly, quietly, the ruled and cross-ruled countenance on which they were traced, became fair and blank. Quietly, quietly, the reflected marks of the prison bars and of the zig-zag iron on the wall-top, faded away. Quietly, quietly, the face subsided into a far younger likeness of her own than she had ever seen under the grey hair, and sank to rest.” Amy went to rest and Frederick remained with William. “One figure reposed upon the bed. The other, kneeling on the floor, drooped over it(right); the arms easily and peacefully resting on the coverlet; the face bowed down, so that the lips touched the hand over which with its last breath it had bent. The two brothers were before their Father; far beyond the twilight judgments of this world; high above its mists and obscurities.”

In Chapter XX Introducing the Next, Clennam arrives at Calais with an address from Mr. Pancks and asks to see “the English lady”. In a back room on the first floor, there is a man. “Monsieur Blandois.” said Clennam. “A door of communication with another room was opened” and Miss Wade entered”. Arthur used the name Blandois because Miss Wade would not have seen him otherwise. He was actually seeking information about Blandois. All he learns is that Blandois had dealings with Mr. Gowan – things start to come full circle – MIss Wade expresses hatred for Minnie (Pet Meagles) because of her treatment of Tattycoram (Harriet) who then comes in the room and Dickens sorts out the story of Harriet’s disappearance. Arthur returns to England and reads the sheets of paper Miss Wade has given him.

In Chapter XXI The History of a Self-Tormentor. the reader gets Miss Wade’s story which includes a connection with Mr. Gowan. Another circle begins to close for the reader.

In Chapter XXII Who Passes By This Road So Late?, there is an update on Doyce and Clennam: Daniel is going out to the colonies to work on a business venture and he requests that Arthur “abandon” his “invention”. He cautions Arthur about continuing but Arthur resists saying he would be ashamed if he “submitted to be so soon driven out of the field” by the shenahigans that go on in the Circumlocution Office. Doyce leaves for Southampton. Arthur reflects upon his meeting with Rigaud at his mother’s place. In an interview with Mr.Baptist they discover that Blandois and Rigaud are one and the same person. Mr. Baptist determines to find out more about Rigaud/Blandois for Arthur. Thus this issue ends leaving the reader wanting to know more about Rigaud and why he has been visiting Arthur’s mother and what will happen to Amy now that her father and uncle are dead.

End of Issue 16.